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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

Posted by Steven Seidman at 2:46PM   |  Add a comment
Romney-Ryan Logo

Today, Mitt Romney added Congressman Paul Ryan to the Republican national ticket, with a new slogan, "America's Comeback Team," and a new logo. The logo does not use the large, stylized "R" in the presidential candidate's name for the VP selection; rather it allows Ryan to "keep" his own "R" (albeit a smaller, simpler one).

The slogan is reminiscent of Democrat Bill Clinton being termed the "Comeback Kid" by the media, after he did well in the 1992 New Hampshire Primary, although the Romney-Ryan slogan is a Reaganesque call for America to return to "greatness" under new leadership.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:50AM   |  Add a comment
Ron Keas, Forward (2012)


Ron Keas has produced what he proclaims to be the "world's first political campaign poster in 3-D." And it promotes the re-election of President Barack Obama.

It incorporates his oil painting of Obama and adds the Lincoln Memorial and one of the President's campaign slogans, "Forward." 

With special glasses (available for purchase on Keas's Web site), you will see the effects. 
 

 


Posted by Steven Seidman at 11:30AM   |  Add a comment
President Obama Speaking in Maumee, Ohio (July 5, 2012) (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

The Obama campaign has unveiled another slogan: "Betting on America." Past slogans for the President's re-election campaign were "Winning the Future" and "Forward" (the latter one present, but de-emphasized, on the Obama Web site).

The new slogan is patriotic and is an attempt to paint the President's policies in a positive way, in contrast to Mitt Romney's alleged "outsourcing" of American jobs overseas, closing American companies, and opposition to the Federal bailout of two U.S. automakers.

Obama's Republican opponents immediately countered the slogan's message, with one, Tim Pawlenty, saying the following: “No one should bet against America. But we certainly shouldn’t double down on Barack Obama.”


Posted by Steven Seidman at 2:30PM   |  Add a comment
Obama Campaign 2012 Slogan (BarackObama.com)

I've already blogged extensively about political campaign slogans, which began in 1840 in the U.S. to support the Whig ticket of William Henry Harrison (“The Hero of Tippecanoe”—during the War of 1812) and John Tyler: "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." Other good slogans followed, both at home and abroad. In the U.S., there have been some clever ones, including the Republican Party's "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852," "Lincoln's "Vote Yourself a Farm" (1860) and "Don't swap horses in midstream" (1864), Harding's "Let’s be done with wiggle and wobble" (1920), and Coolidge's "Keep Cool With Coolidge" (1924) [for some more, see this BuzzFeed Politics blog post]; and in other countries, there were the African National Congress's "A Better Life for All" (South Africa, 1994) and the National Action Party's "Enough Already!" (Mexico, 2000).

In the 2008 U.S. presidential contest, Republican John McCain's campaign was characterized by several slogans—one of which was "Country First," which was partially a tactic to distance McCain from President Bush and the Republican Party; partially an attempt to stress McCain's heroism during the Vietnam War; and partially a veiled effort to cast suspicion on Obama's patriotism (as I stated then). Democrat Barack Obama's main slogan, "Yes We Can," was probably more effective, as was his "Change we can believe in"—both being so positive and inclusive.

Back in February of this year, Jeff Mason speculated about the President's new slogan, saying that the Obama campaign was "roadtesting" several, including "Winning The Future" and "Greater Together."

Clearly, there still are economic problems that need to be addressed, and the new slogan would have to connote "resolve" and "leadership." Does "Forward" (which debuted in a seven-minute-plus video to promote President Obama's re-election) do that? Perhaps so, but probably no one slogan would be perfect. Here's what Obama said a few months ago: "Inspiration is wonderful, nice speeches are wonderful, pretty posters, that's great. But what's required at the end of the day to create the kind of country we want is stick-to-it-ness. It's determination. It's saying, 'We don't quit.'"

What about the past buzz words, "hope" and "change"? On those, David Axelroad, the president's key campaign adviser, stated: "This election is also about hope and about change. That doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be in the slogan."

How about Mitt Romney's slogan, "Believe in America"? To me, it appears that his campaign strategists are trying to emulate Ronald Reagan and his 1984 "Morning in America" campaign.



Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:45AM   |  Add a comment
Sarkozy Poster, "La France Forte" (2012)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign has just issued its first poster, now that he has announced his candidacy for re-election. It shows the Aegean Sea in the background with what appears to be a sunrise. The background photo used, as Stella Tsolakidou notes in the Greek Europe Reporter, "has caused bitter comments from his opponents, who have criticized him both for using a Greek landscape instead of a French one and for the way he treated the Greek debt situation."  

The poster's slogan, “La France Forte” (A strong France), is reminiscent of past slogans in the country's election campaigns, particularly "Il faut une France forte" (We need a strong France; Giscard d’Estaing, 1981).

The photo used by Sarkozy's campaign conveys tranquility, with the sunrise (or sunset?) adding to the feeling of peacefulness, a visualization of another 1981 slogan—for François Mitterrand—"la force tranquille" (conveying calm and steady strength).

Of course, a number of parodies of the Sarkozy poster were soon issued, including "La Trance Forte" (A Strong Trance) and “La France Morte” (A Dead France). Here are three links for some Photoshopped parodies: Humores y amores, laseptiemewilaya, and leParisien.fr

French voters go to the polls on April 22, with a probable runoff scheduled for May 6.

For more on French election campaigns and its poster propaganda, see my book, Posters. Propaganda and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.


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